Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter at the Provincial House

Easter at the Provincial House

"Since Christ accomplished his work of human redemption and of the perfect glorification of God principally through his Paschal Mystery, in which by dying he has destroyed our death, and by rising restored our life, the sacred Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord shines forth as the high point of the entire liturgical year" (Universal Norms of the Roman Calendar, n. 18).

The Easter Triduum ("3 days") begins with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday evening and goes through Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.  For several years it's been our custom at the provincial residence to celebrate the triduum at home, with various priests also going out to celebrate the liturgies at the religious communities and parishes where we provide chaplaincy services.  In a slight change this year, we went away for our quarterly day of recollection on Good Friday and celebrated the day's liturgy at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw.

Here are a few photos of our Holy Thursday Mass and Eucharistic adoration, which didn't include a footwashing ritual.

Fr. Dennis Donovan presided and gave the homily, and most of the priests of the community concelebrated.
From the Holy Thursday Mass until the Easter Vigil Mass, the tabernacle is left completely empty, symbolic of the Lord's passion and burial (physical absence from the community of his disciples).  Extra sacred hosts consecrated at Thursday's Mass are kept aside for Good Friday's liturgy (which does not include Mass) and also for a few hours of adoration on Thursday evening ("stay awake and keep watch with me" until the approximate hour of Jesus' arrest).
We use the front parlor as the place of reservation for the Blessed Sacrament on Thursday evening until about 10:00 p.m.  Then the Sacrament is secreted until it's brought forth for Friday's Communion service (or to be brought to the sick on Friday).

Saturday nite's service begins after sunset with the blessing of a new fire, from which the Easter candle, symbolizing the light of Christ risen from the dead, will be lit.
Weather permitting, we begin on our back porch.
Bro. Kevin Connolly holds the Roman Missal and Fr. Mike Leschinsky
the Easter candle as Fr. Steve lights the candle from the new fire.
Fr. Steve Dumais presided.  He informed us that this was the first time in 37 years as a priest that he'd ever presided at the Easter Vigil, which is really surprising considering that he's been a director in various houses (Tampa, Marrero, Haverstraw, here) for about 25 years.

After a procession into our chapel in the dark, with candles supplying the only light (Christ is the light of the world shining in its darkness), Fr. Mike Leschinsky sang the solemn Easter proclamation, the Exsultet:  "Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven...," or in the older translation (which I like better for this text and find easier to sing when I have to do it), "Rejoice, heavenly powers...."
Fr. Mike did a terrific job with the difficult music, evidently having practiced for a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, the congregation of priests and brothers stands with candles lit (in this photo, those without candles were carrying something, such as incense), extinguishing the candles when we come to the liturgy of the Word, then lighting them again later for the renewal of our baptismal commitment.
Fr. Steve gave the homily.  He and Bro. Kevin had decorated the chapel earlier in the day.

On Easter morning there was another, lower-key Eucharistic celebration for the community.  And several of the priests were out to celebrate Mass for the Ursulines, St. Vincent's Hospital, Willow Towers, and St. Ursula's Parish.

Fr. Mark Hyde and others prepared a splendid Easter dinner (turkey, ham, and much, much more) for us and our guests from Salesian High School, and a former SDB who spends the triduum with us every year.  I didn't take pictures this year, but here's one from 2013.

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